It’s snowing heavily. Visibility is poor. The pavement is covered with slush and ice. You’re carefully navigating the slippery roads when you come across a car in flames with someone trapped inside. What do you do?
If you’re Dale Hession, Jacob Tyler and John Tyler — ironworkers from Ontario and Calgary — you risk your life to help.
On December 5, 2012, the three men were driving to Kitimat, British Columbia, returning from the Kitimat Aluminum Smelter Modernization project.
They came across a burning car on the highway between Kitimat and Terrace. The car had struck an oncoming truck and burst into flames upon impact. The passenger was able to escape the flames but the driver was trapped by his seatbelt.
John and Dale tried to pull the driver out, while Jacob and the passenger layered the three men and the car with snow, in an effort to control the flames. Despite the heavy smoke and flames, they were able to cut the seatbelt, freeing the man and carrying him to safety before the car exploded.
The driver didn’t escape unscathed. He sustained severe burns and fractures; his recovery would be long and painful. Again, local ironworkers answered the call; they started a job site collection that raised more than $5,000 to help with the man’s medical expenses.
The bravery and selflessness of Dale, Jacob and John impressed not only the local community, but the entire country. On March 6, 2015, the three ironworkers were awarded with a Medal of Bravery in a Rideau Hall ceremony led by His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.
The Medal of Bravery, created by the Canadian federal government in 1972, is the third-highest award for bravery in the country. It recognizes individuals who risk their lives to perform “acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.”